Friday, December 25, 2009

Cold Christmas Day

Watching a cracklin' fire on Christmas night. Cliche, but true (that's why they call 'em cliches). Too beautiful to put into words -- a spark flying here and there, yellow flames in front, red on blackened logs, and blue flames in back.

Lovely day, very low-key -- just the way I like my holidays.

We had way more than a dusting of snow yesterday, maybe an inch - unusual for West Texas at Christmas. Cold, cold, so cold. Weather moving in from the North with an icy North wind blowing. Icicles still hanging off the house, tho there's been no moisture in 48 hours.

I put a blanket on Blaze, our Palomino, last night. He spends more time now laying out in the sun on the ground, like a young colt, gathering every ray of sunshine on his old bones. He's such a beautiful horse, and so affectionate. My big ole baby who puts his soft, warm, white muzzle against me while I pet his thick, golden winter coat.

Normally, Blaze gambols about like a young colt, but lately he's had a bad limp. We think the mare, Star, kicked him in the knee. He chases her around, trying to herd her like any stallion would, while she bucks and rears, putting on her own personal rodeo. Seems like little Star must have connected with Blaze's knee. He was giving her a wide berth last week, but he's back to moving her around again, albeit with a limp.

More cold on the way. I'm going out for more wood.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What War?

Upon hearing President Obama's order for more troops to Afghanistan, I was overtaken by a memory of another war.

I was about 17 when my oldest brother returned from service in the Navy during the Viet Nam war. He and my mother were talking in our small kitchen. They were discussing his attempt to bond with our father down at the local VFW. Daddy wore his green cap proudly, and spent many afternoons drinking beer down at the VFW Hall. My brother, then in his mid-20's, drank a couple of beers with Daddy and his buddies, then left. "All they wanted to do," he explained to Mama "was drink beer and talk about their war. I want someone to talk to about my war."

His lament crystallized the dichotomy in the country, at that time and still today, about Viet Nam, about every war. No one wanted to talk about this Boomer war, fought in a country nobody knew about, for so many years it was just another boring staple on the evening news. Even today, there is a romance about World War II. Books are written, and celebrated, about The Greatest Generation. From the time I was thirteen, I read everything I could about the Second World War, mesmerized by the twisted psychology of Hitler. My mother told stories of meat and tire rationing, her job in a Long Beach shipbuilding plant, and how proud everyone was of the troops and the war effort. The nation, according to her, pulled together as one during the early 40's to fight Hitler and the Germans, then Tojo and the Japanese. She was disgusted at the Berkeley and Columbia protests, at John and Yoko with their long, unkempt hair and anti-war attitude, at my sympathy to the protests and enthusiasm for Lennon's music and views.

And just as she didn't want to hear pot-smoking musicians sing give peace a chance, the nation didn't want to know about those who came home from the war. When first one, then another brother came home from service, they set about finding jobs and settling families during the inflationary times of the early 70's. Just as their father had done 20 years earlier. There were no parades. Hawks and Doves still fought over political careers. Nixon had a secret plan. Cronkite still intoned on TV every evening: over jungle fire-fights, and protests, and bloody bodies.

And nobody talked to them about their war.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Black Crowes

Dodgers at Cards, Game 3

Why am I only live-blogging this series? I am loving the Yankees-Minnesota series. Have a convoluted 10th cousin 4x removed to the 2nd power tie to Minnesota. But I loves me some Jeter - well, who doesn't really? The most-talented, classiest player in beisbol. Plus, nom nom! Jeter's on my fantasy baseball team, if you catch my drift. In my fantasy league, I always win.

And, of course, along with the Cardinals, I've ALWAYS loved the Red Sox. I know, one cannot love both the Yankees and the Red Sox, except if you live in fly-over land. Ha! Back at ya, East Coast. I witnessed the sickening Bill Buckner error. Must...erase...bad image...from...mind...

One thing the Dodgers/Cards have is my 2 fantasy GMs: Tony LaRussa, the only lawyer who shouldn't be at the bottom of the sea; and Joe Torre, former catcher (my fantasy position -- in baseball) he of the aforementioned stupid decision by the Steinbrenners. Too young to see Joe Torre catch, but I watched him coach the Cardinals in the playoffs in the 70's. I also remember how pissed off I was when the Cardinals fired him, until I saw how hot Tony LaRussa was!

This is not going well: Dodgers up 3-0 in 3rd inning. Ever notice how in football everything is bold, aggressive Roman numerals, but cooled-out, pastoral baseball prefers the more American Arabic characters. Yes I said it: American Arabic; just shows how chill baseball is. Super Bowl III vs 3rd Inning.

Cardinal bats are silent. Dear Lord, PLEASE don't let the Dodgers get in the series over the Cards -- especially not in a sweep! Because, you know, the Higher Power loves baseball.

Okay, this is too depressing. I'm going to make lasagna for supper. Maybe that will change their luck.


Okay, my bad, bad bad. 4th game. Dodgers swept Cards. Good on Joe Torre!

Clearly, I am in denial that this is the end for STL.

That is all. For now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October Baseball

Watching the 2nd game of the LA Dodgers vs St Louis Cardinals series tonight. God, I love baseball post-season. Every game is so important - every game counts.

9th inning, STL leads LAD 2-1. 2 outs, 1 man in scoring position - please, please Cards, pull this one out. Cards fan from...well...the womb. Although I am in love with Joe Torre. Steinbrenner f***ed up letting him get away. Oh, well, that's Steinbrenner. Letting ego get in front of the brain.

Oh, s**t! Dodgers on 1st & 2nd. Oh, awesome hit to tie the game 2-2. Damn Dodgers just won't give up. One would think (hope) they lost their mojo trying to sew up the division lead. just gets worse. Cacher lost a pitch: everybody advances. Ball 4, bases loaded, 2 out. Cards aren't changing pitchers. Dude's pitching well, just a couple bad breaks.

OH, MY. With 2 outs in 9th inning, Dodgers get 2 runs to win the game. Series: Dodger 2; Cards 0.

God, I love the baseball playoffs!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


How are we feeling today? Have we taken our meds? Is it better now?.....or now?

Where have you gone, Jim Morrison?

I'm watching VH1Classic (I know, most of you can stop reading now) -- a film of the Doors late in their time together. Jim Morrison's "fat" phase. Right before he offed himself with heroin. Coincidence?

I read Morrison's poetry, but could never get into it. Maybe I was too young, or maybe his poetry was tainted with his addictions. Don't get me wrong, I'm no drug prude; but, honestly, drugs/alcohol (same thing) really don't enhance one's creative spirit. Dylan Thomas, Heath Ledger, F Scott Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe.

How do you feel?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Best Toy

Courtesy Breyer, Inc.

What was your favorite toy as a kid?

I loved horses, but we couldn't have a horse. I always asked for a horse, and sometimes received a plastic horse. They weren't always Breyer; they were whatever, and I loved them all. Thoroughbreds, Quarterhorses, Trigger (Roy Roger's horse - only Olds will know RR & Trigger), Appaloosas, Palominos - didn't matter. Loved 'em all. I kept a notebook with their names.

Unfortunately, most of the horses lost a leg or two as I played with them. Thank God I didn't have to put them down. I still have one horse with only 1 leg intact. My favorite.

We had lots of adventures. Anyone who can hook me up with horse models, I will be in your debt.

What was your toy of choice?

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memorium

A day to give thanks. Thanks that we survived 9/11, and grew to embrace the tragedy as part of our nation and part of our collective conscious.

Thanks that the "training excercise" reported today in Washington did not result in harm to our President. At the time of this post, there is still confusion as to what, exactly, occurred on the Potomac with the Coast Guard.

God, please bring peace to us, our families, our neighbors, our nation, our President and our universe. Please bring Your serenity to those battling illness, loneliness, depression and their demons.

Thank you for Your infinite love and care.

Please share your thoughts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nerd Joke

Why are complementary metal oxide semiconductors always happy?

Because they're not bi-polar.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood at Madison Square Garden

Just bought the Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood at Madison Square Garden DVD.

It is unbelievable. Those 2 old dudes rock.

Always a fan of Clapton, from the days of Cream: "White Room" first memory from -- what -- '67? I don't know - I was 13, and I knew I was hearing some very new, strange and awesome music.

My God, this concert is amazing. The last Clapton dvd I bought was the "Concert for George" tribute to George Harrison. I thought it was the cat's pajamas. Tonight I watched the Clapton/Winwood dvd, then put on the Harrison tribute. Clapton seems so much more engaged in this concert - it's almost day/night. And I loooooves me some Eric. His tribute to George was heartfelt. He clearly directed the music; and, I imagine he had his talented hands full with all the egos involved: Jeff Lynne, the late Billy Preston, et al; not to mention Tom Petty and Paul McCartney who are strong-minded directors of their own bands.

Clapton seems so much looser and happier at the MSG concert. And he is so back to his blues roots. Listen to "After Midnight", just as fresh as the original 1970 studio release. If you've never heard "Tell the Truth", you owe it to yourself to listen to this version with Winwood's excellent keyboards -- it totally stands up to the original. Winwood's interpretation of "Georgia On My Mind" is comparable to Ray Charles' classic. And "Little Wing" is spot-on with Clapton and Winwood trading vocals -- with much better vocals and guitar than the Derek & The Dominos-era version. A down-and-dirty bluesy "Voodoo Chile" gives a different spin to Hendrix' song. Clapton's guitar is a nasty counterpoint to Windwood's heartfelt vocals, who then ups the ante with his soulful chops on the keyboard.

Clapton is in great voice throughout the concert. Steve Winwood's vocals are as strong as when he was a teenager, and his guitar solo on "Dear Mr. Fantasy " rivals Clapton.

Clapton's guitar feels like the early 70's again, only better. The man who always aspired to be as good as his hero Robert Johnson is there -- in spades.
Clapton's feeling it again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best Months

April and October are my favorite months of the year. They are good, gleaming, groovy times. Seasons change. Months poised right before and after conventionally celebrated months: School beginnings and endings, book-ending vacations.

I love being unconventional, though it's distressing that unconventionality ultimately becomes orthodox.

Vacations in April and October are the best. Rates are lower for hotels and entertainment. Weather is moderate.

Life is good in October and April

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Above is a picture I managed to take of a beast the likes of which have never been seen before. I dubbed it "The West Texas Basseagle". As you can see, it's a two-headed beast whose habitat is loveseats, chairs and sofas. The beast appeared on my loveseat yesterday; but, like the Yeti, took off when it heard the "snap" of the camera. This is my first sighting. It has a disjointed, lumbering gait; and the two heads each make a unique noise, like a "barking" of some kind. I have no more information than this. To my knowledge, this sighting is the first one in West Texas. Loch Ness has its monster, the U.S. has its Yeti, and the Northeast Coast has the Montauk Monster. I fear this is only the first report we will see of the Basseagle. Please let me know if you have seen such a creature; and post any photos you may have.

Cry Me A River

Take a moment and listen to Diana Krall's rendition of this great bluesy torch song. This is not to be confused with JT's "Cry Me A River".

I first heard this as a very young child when Julie London had a hit with it. She was an actress as well as a singer; married to the great jazz artist Bobby Troup who wrote "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", one of the best songs ever written. Miss London was beautiful, and had this lovely, wispy, smoky voice.
Her version was a hit in 1956-57 according to everything I can find. It's hard to believe a song could make such an impact on a 3-year-old. Actually, I think I heard music in the womb -- I can remember listening to old rock from Buddy Holly, Elvis and Ray Charles.

I rediscovered this gem while watching Joe Cocker's rock interpretation at Woodstock.

Several stylings of this song are on the web: from the great Ella Fitzgerald (she's really rockin' it at the end, and adds an extra verse), Julie London (soft and sad) and Barbra Streisand (way too bombastic for my taste). Diana Krall takes just the right tone, combining blues and jazz for a bittersweet take.

All these songs, except Miss London's, are really gritty by the last verse, the sadness turning to this side of anger with a whole lot of "Your bad, dude; I'm out". Interesting phrasing, too; puts me in mind of Willie Nelson's unorthodox singing style. The jazz guitar is mighty tasty, too.

Sit back, and enjoy. And, please let me know of any other versions out there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


The Big Guy came in the other night, and proposed a theory about why people prefer dogs over cats as pets. Very interesting. He says dogs have round pupils, like humans. Cats have those very cool-looking oval pupils that close horizontally. They do, however, go all round when the kitties are feeling playful. Goats, as he noted, are "sideways". Have you ever looked at the old Stones' album Goatshead Soup? That goat is positively demonic which is consistent with the Stones' raison d'etre of that era. Some religious sects believe the goat is of the devil. Big Guy has always emphatically said, "Please don't tell me you want to keep goats." Now, I never wanted a goat (to raise) in my life. I enjoy barbeque goat once in a while (I have a story to tell about that one day), as long as someone else barbeques the goat that somebody ELSE raised.

I assured BG that I only want horses. Another story, another time.

The reason BG never wanted goats had nothing to do with any religious or vegan beliefs. You see, BG's parents raised goats for awhile when he was just a young'un. Guess who milked the nannies before school and in the evening. Yeah, BG loves every animal (rattlesnakes, much?) on this earth; he just doesn't want to have to milk them morning & evening.

But they do have some wicked-looking eyes. Now look at a dog. Their eyes are kind. I read of an actor, forget who it was; the actor was in his first major show on Broadway. Understandably nervous in his big debut, another more experienced actor told the newbie to focus on a pair of eyes in the audience that (a) he could see despite the stage lights; and (b) looked sympathetic to him. The actor assured the Broadway virgin that he would find a pair of sympathetic eyes in the audience with which he could connect.

Early in the first act, the young actor found just such a pair of eyes. They were focused, seemingly just on him, something any actor craves. They were also suprisingly sympathetic as if the person knew he was a young actor in his first big role. He felt most surely that the person must be a woman, so empathetic and engaged was she. He remembered seeing a young, pretty brunette sitting in the front row while checking out the audience before the lights went down.

Throughout the play, her eyes mesmerized him; and he felt his performance was energized by their glow. He gave even more than he felt was possible as he played to her beautiful eyes.

When the final curtain came down, he was pleased with his performance. He gave his all; for once, he felt he inhabited the role -- he was no longer acting, he was the role. At curtain call, he searched feverishly for the beautiful brunette with the bewitching eyes who could see into his soul. He looked in the front row, spotting a gorgeous brunette, chatting with the male next to her, oblivious to everything but herself. The actor re-focused back to the spot to which he played all night. Disapointedly, he realized there was nothing but an old man there, holding a cane. Next to the man, beside him on the floor was his companion dog. The dog's soft, bright eyes watched everything, filtering those items of interest that might affect his master. For a moment, the dog focused on the actor; her eyes a soft, warm laser beam.

The old man picked up his cane and stood up. Immediately, the dog jumped to attention, looking around while waiting for the man's cue as to where they were going. They proceeded up the aisle, the dog moving purposefully, guiding the old man.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Little Rain

OMG We had rain! I'm talkin' major rain for W TX. 3 and 1/2 tenths inches on Saturday night. Plus BIG hail. Big enough to put a major dent in the truck, break out a skylight and shatter a glass window. Boo!

Howsomever (as Richard Pryor's Mudbone said --- and I love my Mudbone and Richard Pryor), the rain watered the horse grass. So much so that I haven't watered since Friday. Tomorrow (Wednesday) time to set the sprinklers again. Haven't seen the little shoosts come up thru the ground. Thank you, Lisa Douglas of Green Acres, she talked about the shoosts coming up thru the ground. Yes, I am waiting for those shoosts. After one week of watering, and with some rain, I'm hoping to see something popping up thru the ground. There is nothing so awesome as seeing little, tiny (redundant, much?) green things coming up thru the ground.

You know, I am so focused on the horse garden that I haven't yet planted our tomatoes, jalapenos, whatever. My bad. Got to have me some tomatoes, if nothing else from our garden.

Love and green things to all of you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

So what do you think of this? This is a workshop in Germany that makes wooden bunnies for Easter (picture courtesy of Gawker). I think it is an awesomely weird and interesting picture. I still think "Rabbit Zombies" is the best label for it. Do you have another title?

I insist on buying eggs from free-range chickens at my local grocery stores, although they cost a little more coin. Big Guy is from the "an egg is an egg" school.

Comic Dimitri Martin had a thought on free-range chicken: he thinks one should buy only caged chickens. His reasoning: "A free-range chicken has dreams. That chicken may be planning to go back to college!"

Here's to chickens and eggs, and bunnies: wooden, chocolate and fluffy!

Most of all, here's to the children: hope the Easter Bunny left you lots of good things.

Travelin' with The Family

So the Big Guy and I are watching some clips from the New York Auto Show this am. They're showing a new Honda Element(?). This van caters to dog-lovers. Only in America, folks. I guess it's no more self-indulgent than the Harley-Davidson edition Ford Truck. Now, don't get me wrong. All you Harley lovers can rest easy; I think the Harley Ford is very cool-looking. And, of course, I love me some dogs. It's just a trifle decadent to have one's mode of transportation so personalized. Anyway, back to the doggie Element: the seat covers are washable, the floor mats are stamped with little dog biscuits, it has a pull-down ramp for Precious to disembark and a large carrier with water bowl and fan to keep several dogs comfortable under the ac as they travel in the back. It also has a dog carrier attached to the passenger seat behind the front seats. Just like a baby seat.

Contrast this with the way my parents transported their kids on the family vacation in the 50 and 60s.

We took two vacations each year. Every spring we would travel to the Hill Country of Texas to Buchanan Lake. This is a large lake (for Texas) at the northernmost point of a chain of five lakes in Central Texas. The Hill Country is beautiful any time of year; but, especially in the spring when the hills are covered in bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. We stayed in a little cabin along with many spiders. I was scared silly; but the parents just told me I was being a baby. Daddy would go out on the lake about 4 am to fish, and maybe one or two of my brothers would accompany him. There was also a dock that Daddy and I would fish from later in the morning when he came back. We never caught anything at that time of day, but it was good father-daughter time. This annual outing would occur around Easter when everybody had Good Friday and the Monday after Easter off from school/work.

Each summer we drove to Illinois to see my maternal grandmother. That was a one-week, 1,000-mile journey from West Texas to Southern Illinois. Grandma owned a farm which produced hogs to send to market, and corn to feed the hogs. This trip was always taken in June as soon as we kids were out of school and at the beginning of the stifling Illinois summer with the heat, humidity and chiggers. God, I remember those chigger bites -- they lasted until well after we returned home to dry West Texas.

Back when we traveled, there was no Honda Element in which to traverse the miles. Hell, there was no such thing as a Honda or Nissan in the late 50s in the US. Some owned station wagons; however, Daddy worked in the oil field and he drove a big-ass Chevrolet or Pontiac. Always GM, Daddy would kiss a black man before buying a Ford -- and he was a racist homophobic just like any good West Texas man in the 50s (except the black men and the homosexuals). Now these cars were larger than many apartments in NYC or San Fran. My mom and dad, me and three brothers could easily fit in this vehicle. Me and my two older brothers in the back seat, Daddy drove and Mama and my baby bro in the front seat. Trust me, plenty of room. Not enough for siblings, you understand ("Stop touching me!"), but plenty.

These cars were heavy. As in, lots of metal. Major metal. 50's metal. Not this lightweight, namby-pamby shit we drive in today, no sir! These cars weighed almost two tons. Metal dash, hard plastic steering wheel and no seat belts. No air conditioning. Daddy was smoking Winstons all the way. Of course, he opened the tiny little triangular side vent they used to have on the driver & passenger windows, so the smoke was vented out. Somewhat. No baby seat; the baby just rode in Mama's arms or swaddled on the seat between them. Daddy drove like a maniac, pedal to the metal all the way. Had to make time.

Praise the Lord, not one accident in all those years.

Oh, yeah...we always took the family dog.

Good times.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Grass Garden

Well, it's time to begin the annual garden. Working the soil with a little hand spade, planting small tomato plants and some herbs. Water it all in, and wait for the bounty.

We started a new garden this year, in addition to the aforementioned 50 sq foot patch for Bloggerella & the Big Guy. We planted a horse garden. Yes, we bought pasture seed, deadly though it may be (see previous post "Grass Alert") that we hope will become a horsey heaven for Blazey & Chocolate Star.

This has been a dream of ours since we were blessed with these two, huge pets. Since we have no farm equipment, such as a tractor and an irrigation system, it was always just a dream. See, West Texas land is, if lucky, covered in buffalo grass and mesquite trees. This is desert: think arid, barren, yes, hardscrabble land. Annual rainfall of 12 inches doesn't provide for lush fields. If one owns a horse or two, the pasture very quickly becomes nothing but sand on top of caliche rock. We literally have about 3 inches of soil before one encounters solid rock.

I know this is so because three years ago, BG worked his fine-looking butt off planting 3 desert pine trees in the pasture, at my behest, so the horses would have some shade. To plant those 3-foot tall (small?) pines required hours of literally banging on rock with a heavy-ass six-foot wickedly-pointed bar that jars one's very being as it strikes the unyielding rock. We lost 2 of those trees. The lone remaining tree is still 3-feet tall because my darling, dark chocolate mustang with the temperament of a wildly-hormonal, obstreperous teenager insists on rubbing her belly on the little trees, thus breaking off all new growth. For some reason she leaves it alone now, so I have hope we can celebrate a robust 4-foot tree with a funky non-top by the end of this summer. Woo hoo!

Despite that dispiriting adventure, we decided this spring to try planting pasture grass in an attempt to cut the feed bill somewhat as well as to replenish the land. Thanks to Craig's List, I found a dude living just a few miles away who would disc our land for $45 an hour. Score! I didn't know what "discing" was, but I was told we needed it. This amiable fellow brought his tractor over and proceeded to break up the ground with these round discs (redundant much?). As the granddaughter of a farming family, I felt a tiny bit of heretofore unknown DNA strand stirring as I watched him work our land. And, it was exciting to see this sandy, rocky ground turn into some surprisingly dark, rich-looking soil.

Two hours later, we were on our way back to the local farmers' co-op to purchase more seed. See, I planned to tend around 900 sq feet, a fair amount of land to hand water. Big Guy, on the other hand, had our friendly farmer dude disc more than half of the horse pasture, at least an acre of land, which tells me is 43,560 square feet!!! No, that is not an excessive use of exclamation points!!!

So at 3 pm BG begins seeding the area with your regular suburban lawn seeder. I water by hand behind him to moisten the ground so the seed at least sticks to the soil; and then BG starts hand watering as well. FOUR BLANKING HOURS LATER, we finish hand watering all the seeded area. As God is my witness, that one acre I so proudly watched being disced ("watch" being the operative word), had grown to the size of a small, Saharan country.

Yesterday, I continued the process of watering, this time setting 2 sprinklers out, and moving them every 30 minutes. Began watering at 8 am and finished at 7 pm, eleven hours to water the entire area. We have those sprinklers they used to water schoolyards when I was a kid that water a large circular area. Every time I walked into the pasture to move the sprinklers, these small black birds with a cunning yellow stripe on the wing (one of you birders will know what they are) were feasting on MY seeds. I yell "Get your bird butts outta here!", they scatter...and return when I leave the premises.

This morning, I saw the Big Guy off at six am. It was a beautiful morning, still dark, just a slight, gentle breeze and a gorgeous, full, yellow moon setting but still high on the western horizon. So I started the sprinklers again. Our weather calls for a "wind event" today with sustained 30-40 mph winds, gusting to 50. I wanted to water as long as possible. Moved the water at 7 am, and fed the horses. Went out at eight o'clock and moved both sprinklers again. As soon as I had them where I wanted, suddenly, like a switch being thrown, the gentle breeze blew into blustering winds. The high wires were singing their eerie song when the wind really blows. I turned off the water since the spray was just blowing away. No watering today. Hope the wind keeps those little black bastard birds away. Hope it doesn't blow away all the seed. *Sigh*

To be continued...

Siberian Tiger Cubs

Aw.......Cute little Baby Kitties,
Who will Eat You when They are Big!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fixing a Hole

I'm fixing a hole
where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
where it will go

Haven't posted since mid-March. Sorry to anyone who checks this blog.

Totally mired in a bog
with the black dog
of depression

And who wants to read a downer blog?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Watermelon Wine

You know how I love my animals. Depression becomes suicide when one feels the animals cease to care.

Old dogs care about you
even when you make mistakes.
God bless little children
while they're still too young to hate
I had it all when I was young
and in my natural prime
Now it's old dogs, and children
and watermelon wine.

Thank you, Tom T. Hall

Sunday, March 8, 2009


My husband was trimming limbs in the backyard last week: a red oak, magnolia, two oleander bushes and honeysuckle vines. Okay, by "trimming" he totally took out the honesuckle, leaving these two huge stumps with fat arms sticking out of the ground.

So I'm checking email when Big Guy comes in and asks me to find out if the honeysuckle or magnolia will hurt our horses. He wants to throw the limbs and leaves in their pasture. Good question. As anyone knows who researches the interwebs, answering a question can take hours and hours...not to mention the differing opinions one enounters. I never discovered if honeysuckle or magnolia is a problem.

I did find something, however, that is extremely disturbing: a woman from New Braunfels, TX writes that rye grass is poisonous to horses. Beautiful. Last fall I planted rye grass for Blaze and Star in their pasture: raking a 30' x 20' plot by hand; sowing seeds like pioneer women did, by hand; watering thrice-weekly by ... well, you know. The horses wintered on it since October, and love it. Nice to know I'm slowly poisoning them.

She also said red clover and fescue are poisonous to horses. The week before, I'm looking at a 50-pound sack of what was labeled "pasture seed for horses". Some of the varieties: rye, red clover and fescue!

This can only mean one thing: Tractor Supply is spearheading the equine-killing movement.
Now, it's gonna take more than the New Braunfels lady and me to stop this vast anti-horse conspiracy. We need all you horse lovers to unite. Any grass in your pasture is your horse's mortal enemy! Stop the grass madness now! Terminate all pasture feeding; you'll need to convert to a new regimen as soon as possible.

I can get you a sweet deal on honeysuckle and magnolia.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Texas Trips

A friend of mine is currently driving cross-country from East Coast to West. Green with envy, I am following her blog DC Confidential at as she drives.

I love to drive. Most people I know prefer flying. Maybe that's because we here in West Texas are 300 miles, in any direction, from a major city. And about 150 of those miles are flat land with scrubby mesquite trees, some pumpjacks and nothing conventionally pretty to see. The landscape grasses are brown from ten+ years of drought, although it doesn't really change that much even when it rains. I hated driving when I was a kid, nothing but boring, brown, barren land for miles. As an adult, however, I can listen to some sweet tunage and let my thoughts wander and flow throughout the familiar landscape, knowing the best is yet to come.

Drive 300 miles east to Dallas. Downtown where one building (name anyone?) is outlined in green argon: stark, modern, unusual; and the twinkling lights of the revolving Hyatt tower where the food is overpriced and the view is worth it. Lots of hip bars, upscale dining and the Dallas Museum of Art. Bright lights, big city, big hair.

Alternately, drive 300 miles west to El Paso. Though immortalized in song, EP is one of the ugliest cities in Texas. Because it is a border town, the smog from Mexico's ecologically-insane factories hangs over the city; and the stench of the stockyards assails one's olfactory system and beats it senseless. Great shopping, though, with lots of factory outlets. Any El Pasoans out there who would like to disabuse me of my bleak opinion and enlighten me on your fair city, please comment. Drive just a little farther west on I-10, however, and one finds the picturesque town of Las Cruces, New Mexico. A friend turned me onto this gem when we drove there in 1993 to see Paul McCartney at a football stadium. As in most New Mexican cities, there's a town plaza, and Las Cruces is tourist-friendly, but not touristy.

Let's see. Not quite 300 miles in a northerly direction is Amarillo, way station on the cattle drives to Kansas City. Home of Palo Duro Canyon, almost as beautiful as the Painted Desert and far more accessible.

Now, 300 miles south of West Texas is my favorite part of the state. Austin: home to the funkiest bars, fabulous dining, and great music. Home of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Willie Nelson. Counter-culture capital of Texas. Beautiful, stately oak trees and Lake Austin. Granite quarries southwest of town. Spend as much or as little as you want in Austin: you'll have a good time either way. And no, the Austin chamber of commerce did not pay me to shill for their city -- but they should.

Having written all that, there are gems within a 2-3 hour drive. North to Lubbock, home of Texas Tech University and Buddy Holly. San Angelo, to the southeast, is a beautiful town with lakes, a river running through the town, and the best antique-shopping (at reasonable prices) anywhere. And southwest are the small artist colonies in the Big Bend area of Alpine, Fort Davis and Marfa. In the inky blackness of night, watch the Marfa lights dart around: swamp gas (though there's no swamp around Marfa), optical illusion or aliens playing jokes on clueless earthlings -- who knows?

So who cares if you have to drive awhile. Chillax. Explore and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cheese and Wine

I gave up drinking wine for Lent. Oh, and the occasional margarita on the rare times we go out to Carumba's. I'm not Catholic, not a practicing anything for that matter, but I rely on God in my life. And this is six weeks of discipline every year that I need, and makes me feel all righteous.

I gave up wine a few years ago for lent as well. No problem until we went to Ruidoso, NM with some friends to a wonderful house in the mountains for a weekend in March. The weekend consisted of fabulous scenery, fun conversation, playing cards, great food and good wine with our evening meal. Heaven in the Mountains. My friend convinced me that what happens in Ruidoso, stays in Ruidoso. I don't know if God bought it, but I did. I never recovered my discipline after that weekend - my worst lenten attempt ever.

The most difficult Lent I experienced was the year I gave up cheese. Now I loves me some cheese: any kind, all kinds. Enjoy experimenting with new and different cheeses, creating different dishes; moreover, my comfort food is good old Macaroni & Cheese. Those 40 days were pure hell. No Mexican food, no pizza, no Italian food of any kind, not even a good ole ham and swiss on rye. At the time, my workplace served the employees lunch; and there were many days of eating salad as that was the only thing available without cheese. Cooking consisted of lots of Asian cuisine which I enjoy, but dayum! Easter Sunday lunch consisted of rack of lamb and a wonderful recipe I have from Williams-Sonoma of bow tie pasta with roasted bell peppers, spinach and basil, sprinkled with parmesan. It was delectible. It was probably one of the healthier times in my life. I thought I would be able to cut down on my obsession after such an extended time of deprivation; but, like a junkie with keys to the pharmacy, it wasn't long before I was back to my old sinning ways. I have never since given up my fromage.

This Lenten discipline is doable. I miss a deeply resonant Cabernet with steak or roasted chicken and an oaky, bright Chardonnay, but I'll survive comfortably and I have that good old righteous feeling. And, there are no plans to go to Ruidoso! Next year, I think I'll test myself again with a strict discipline: giving up Limberger cheese.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Girlfriends and ... Girlfriends

At left is an image of Joanna Moore. I was entranced by her as a child when she played Peg on The Andy Griffith Show. Her character was a nurse who came from a wealthy family in New Orleans. She was featured in a few episodes as Andy's love interest. I fell in love with her soft, smoky voice and Southern accent; and, of course, she was very beautiful. I so wanted her & Andy to get married.

Joanna Moore was truly a Southern girl; and the"smoky" voice was tragically appropos as she died from lung cancer. Her real life was not what I wished for Peg. She had a continuing drug and alcohol dependency which contributed to her declining health. She is notable for being the mother of Tatum O'Neal, who also has her chemical dependency problems; further, Tatum and her brother were removed from Miss Moore's care because of her addictions. Looking at this beautiful lady, I was crestfallen to learn one of my childhood heroes had come to such an ignominious, though human, end.

I far preferred Peg as Andy's girlfriend to Helen Crump who served in that capacity for many years. The aptly-named Miss Crump exemplified, to me, a nagging prig of a woman who seemed to have zero sense of humor. Though I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, I later came to feel Helen was gay. That would explain the tightly-controlled, simmering anger of a woman who either couldn't or wouldn't come out. I just wanted her to ditch Andy, already, and set up house with Betty Lou. Can you imagine coming out in Mayberry! Andy may have been the only person in that town who wouldn't march in the GLBT Pride parade. Lots of squelched feelings & passions in Peyton Place by the fishin' hole. After all, Aunt Bea and Miss Clara sure made a lot of pies and canned lots of pickles together. No symbolism there.

I'm keeping my girlhood denial: a little slice of Mayberry heaven wherein beautiful, Southern actresses win the heart of the noble Sheriff, and they live happily ever after.

And, maybe, eat some canned pickles and pie.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Oscars

YESSSSS! Penelope Cruz won! Maybe Oscar doesn't have his head up his ass. The Hugh Jackman opening musical number was good - little humor for a change.

OMG Tina Fey & Steve Martin! This just keeps getting better!

Really want to see In Bruge. The doc of Harvey Milk was so good, hope the film does it justice. Sean Penn, asshole that he is, is such a great actor. 'Course if you throw away all the asshole actors, you couldn't mount a production of My Dinner with Andre.

Ben Stiller - priceless as Joaquin. If you saw the Letterman clip, Stiller nails it.

My inner gay man loooved the musical!

I'm trying to live blog the Oscars while preparing Pasta Carbonara for supper. If you want really good liveblogging, check out Defamer for all the snark, the real snark, and nothing but the snark. Wow, Christopher Walken looks even creepier than usual! Can't wait to see the doc Man on Wire; seen quite a bit about it on tv.

As you may have guessed, these films don't all get to W TX - we are deep in the Red State Bible Belt here, and some of the Oscar-nom films (certainly docs) won't even be shown here. And, I'm waay too cheap to rent or download. Not when I pay eleventy-hundred $$ a month to get every friggin movie channel brought to me by the Great Satellite. Only in America can the astronauts orbit, land on the moon, even die so we can watch Talladega Nights whenever we want. And I hit my knees every night to thank the good Lord above for it 'cos Will Farrell is one damn fine actor.

I'm so glad Kate Winslett won, altho it seemed pre-destined, still think it's a good choice. Wonderful line, "Meryl, you'll just have to suck it up."

Did I call Penn? Please pay your bets before leaving.

Good night, and please tip your waiter.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tale of Hypocrasy

Watching the HBO doc on Ted Haggard, the Colorado minister who lost his mega-parsonage. Mr. Haggard was outed by (at least) one gentleman who had sex with him on a regular basis while Pastor Haggard preached against homosexuals.

Tuned into the doc 20 minutes late; but figured I could catch up. IMHO, this dude still has not come to terms with his sexuality. He has kept his family; and he evidences a sense of betrayal by the loss of his church and friends. His wife says she would marry him again. She isn't the first wife in denial. Now he's selling insurance door-to-door. Once a salesman, always a salesman.

I am a spiritual person. I enjoy going to church, on the rare times I attend. To my dismay, every church eventually brings politics into the pulpit; i.e. abortion and homosexuality. Churches do not pay taxes; therefore, I feel they should not promote any political agenda. I go to church to reinforce my spirituality. I read the paper and listen to the news to develop my political beliefs. Ne'er the twain shall meet. It seems to me that every person I know who attends church, whatever religion, has such rigid views of right and wrong. Maybe life is as black and white as they feel it is, and I am too open to interpretation; however, there seems to be no room for all the variances I experience in my small-town existence.Even in right-wing blood-red West Texas we have persons of differing sexual preferences; those with varying views on gun laws; brave souls who stand up against the local educational bias against Darwinism.

Here's my big confession: though I have tried many times, I cannot read the Bible. I enjoy church because I can hear passages and their interpretation. But I get bored trying to read any Bible; cannot sustain any interest. This revelation brought much distress to my mother who .feels my depression can be solved by a church home. She and I cannot share our views on church. I love books, so my inability to read a great book distresses me. Maybe if it hadn't been edited so many times by those with agendas?

Ted Haggard is a distillation of my issues with organized religion: organized hypocrisy that projects shame onto those who are "different" and lauds those who adhere to the respective church's idea of what is right; and the politicism of all churches.

How about this simple rule: do unto others as you want them to do unto you.